tv Washington Journal CSPAN June 6, 2010 7:00am-10:00am EDT
juliet moringiello discusses the fiscal state of the states. plus, your e-mails and phone calls. "washington journal" is next. ♪ host: congress returns this week from the memorial day recess. good morning and welcome to "washington journal" for sunday, june 6, 2010. today is the 66th anniversary of d-day. president obama and the first lady will host a reception in the east room of honoring ford's theatre. later, they will attend a performance there. what motivates you to vote in
primaries? to stacey's primaries in california, nevada, -- tuesday sees primaries in california, nevada and iow. a. the numbers to call our -- democrats, 202-737-0002, republicans, 202-737-0001 and independent, 202-628-0205. we are also on twitter. by's talk iraq -- start off talking about a peaciece. more than 2300 people are running for house and senate seats. is the highest number of candidates running in years. the motivation for this? frustration, particularly on the right with president barack
obama and his agenda appears to have contributed to this search. the field has almost twice as many gop candidates as democrats. a strong anti-incumbent sentiment and disenchantment with the way the government spends money are prevailing forces of this election year. a gallup poll showed near record lows -- 46% for republicans in may, 43% for democrats. in a while we will speak with ben evans, the writer of that piece. but let's look at "the washington post" now, and the primary battles going on on tuesday. we will look at some of the key races to watch -- nevada, state senate battle. that is the senate seat held by the senate majority leader harry reid. looking at the republican race for the right to challenge harry
reid could go and a number of directions on tuesday. former state assemblywoman sharon engle is a slight front runner, due to significant expenditures. but former state party chairmen, sue lowdon, who suggested of barter system for health care remains in the game because of her considerable spending. then there is a businessman, danny. he is the son of a former unlv men's basketball coach. we will look at other races coming up on tuesday. let's go to our first call. chicago, democrats line. what motivates you to vote in primaries? caller: good morning. what motivated me was watching channel 11. i thought i knew the history.
i saw the history of the suffragettes and i was so embarrassed i did not know about that earlier. people died for the right to vote. women of this country have not had the right to vote for 100 years. and it really bothers me when neighbors, "i do not want to vote. i might have to be on jury duty." it's so awful. so i vote very probably in the whatever little election. local is where you can it matter. if you just do one thing. it is something we do for community. it may be sad when i went to work and there was a lot of visa nurses, lived here 20 years, have not become citizens, do not want to vote, have scored about our country. you cannot change things unless you get involved.
i encourage everyone. it is a good feeling. people have died for. they have died down south. as a woman, i would never not vote as long as i can get to the polls are fill out a check mark. thank you. host: let's go to jack in westchester county, new york. good morning. caller: good morning. this is an easy one for me, even though i do consider myself independent in terms of presidential affiliation. in my state of new york, we have not just the democrats and republicans. we have a third, fourth, fifth, -- seventh parties. it is bent like this for many decades. it makes people in the middle of the road -- it makes it easier for us to find a niche. we are locked in in new york state. we do not have the primary coming up this week.
party in new york. it does that mean that i am a liberal, an extremely liberal. the liberal party in new york is not as liberal as it used to be. it does allow me to have a franchise. that is the most important thing about the primaries. i see it as an extension of the general elections and all of the other elections. we are lucky to be americans to have the right and to not exercise it, which i almost never miss in person, no absentee ballots ever, every general election and every primary election, even with the difficult differences between the states. some states you can switch parties every year. there would be nice, but it should be uniform. just one less thing -- a little bit more substantive about what has been happening with primaries this year. in pennsylvania, with arlen
specter, i always agreed with arlen specter philosophically. i do not think that -- if i can say, i do not think the democrats who turned out that day in the primary for -- i think pennsylvania it will risk getting a republican in the u.s. senate. i fear, as opposed to someone like arlen specter who is independent-minded. you can motivate people, just as is the case for myself, the franchise. you must take it vanished of that, the right to vote -- you must take advantage of that, the right to vote. we want more fifth and sixth parties. that is all i really wanted to say. host: dennis, the democrats'
line, a silver spring, maryland. hi, dennis. caller: what motivates me, even the president. the president is doing a good job. imagine a year ago, we lost over 700-something jobs. nowadays we are gaining jobs. that is a good sign. the republicans -- there is no reason to vote republican. they just say no for everything. no, no, no offer everything. host: since the president is in not up for reelection, are you still motivated to vote? caller: we have to give him credit, because we used to lose 700. nobody give him credit. he is doing a good job. he is doing a good job. host: let's go to paul, indepents line in massachusetts. caller: the reason i vote in
primaries is, first of all, like a lot of all of the other callers are saying is a civic responsibility. people die for my right to vote. in massachusetts, i can pick whether i want to vote as a democrat or republican in our primary. so sometimes i voted to determine who the guy i am for is going to run against. and you can do that in massachusetts. some people call it a spite vote, but it is our right to do it. i believe we should do it. host: let's look back at the "the washington post", profiling the primary races on tuesday. the california senate -- former hewlett-packard chief executive appears to have pulled away from a former congressman. relying on personal wealth to fund advertisements and on an endorsement from sarah palin to build momentum.
campbell switched from the governor's race earlier this year -- chuck devore is running is the true conservative, but has gained a little traction. the "new york times" profiles carly fiorina -- can the controversial former ceo become the next republican senator from california? california also has a governor race. according to the washington post, it is between meg whitman. it is then of roller-coaster ride. she began as an unknown but quickly changed that by
expanding tens of millions of dollars on her campaign. that money paid for advertisements making the case that putting a boston -- businesswomen in the office is the only solution to their fiscal problems. then came the attack ads that painted her as a liberal on immigration. let's go to texas where canada is on our democrats line. on our- where anna is democrats lines. caller: what motivates me to vote? the fact that i lost two nephews in iraq and who will be going to afghanistan. i feel like if you have a criminal -- if you have a criminal mind, especially minorities when you do not get out and vote when you have the right to vote. if we deny ourselves the right to vote one day it that will be
taken from us. and nobody can complain. thank you. host: let's go to kansas. john, republicans line. hi, john, are you with us? welcome. go ahead. what motivates you to vote in primaries? caller: hopefully they find the right person to run in the general election. i was curious. i've a question about your programming. host: ok. caller: why do you almost always start with democrats, followed by independents, followed by republicans? host: it is to get to the phone the quickest. we tried to have the diversity of voices. it is to give us a call first . retry to switch that
periodically. -- we try to switch that periodically. we tried to get the other number first. caller: your independent colors are almost universally democrats, liberals. -- you independent callers are almost always universally democrats. it's a fact. host: thank you for watching. let's go to pennsylvania, are democrats line. caller: good morning. i was strongly motivated to vote in the recent may primary for representative -- against arlen specter. one of the main reasons is arlen specter's age. i do not think he could expect to live out the term that he was seeking. and mr. sestak has been of very
good representative, although not for the area for our live then. -- i live in. i thought he was the better candidate. and if people did not go and vote in the primaries, the politics would pick the candidates instead of the people. host: marsha, did you hear from your friends and neighbors there were also motivated to get out and vote that day? caller: honestly, i have just caller: honestly, i have just recently moved. it was the 27th that i moved and the primary was the 18th of may. i saw a lot of signs. i did not see a lot of specter signs, and this is a republican area. host: we will speak with an associated press reporter ben evans, the reporter who has been writing about the number of folks running for congress this year. tell us about this surge in the
number of people who are running this year. what is the interpretation of that? guest: we kept noticing in these primaries, the ballots were really long. we saw a lot of races with eight to 10 candidates. we asked the federal election commission for their historical records, and there are about -- this cycle there are 23 under people running for congress. that is the most since the mid- 1970s when the fec started keeping records. it is 700 more than the 2008 election. and so, it is an interesting indicator. i think it is another sign that there is a lot of unrest and it is particularly on the right. most of the candidates, most of the surge in candidates are on
the republican side. we found about twice as many republicans as democrats. so, i think it is just another sign that folks on the right are not happy. some of them are willing to pony up thousands of dollars to try to run. it was nteresting to see what kind of people are running. we call a number of them, and a lot of them are first-time candidates, regular folks who have never run for office before. but they wanted to make a point. some of them are more seasoned politicians, who sense some blood in the water with incumbents and think that maybe they can catch the wave with the tea party movement, or an anti-washington mood. host: ben evans, one of the folks you spoke to is the 59- year-old accountant who made his
first run for congress in georgia. he says is a mild form of civil unrest. do i get a pulpit? yes. i am willing to spend my own money to speak to people. is that something you heard a lot? guest: yes. it is people who are very frustrated and wanted to make the point that things are not right in their own way. that gentleman had a successful career and had enough money stowed away to be able to do that. another guy i talked to said he sold a four wheeler to pay to run in florida. he is running for the senate seat there. several said, "i do not think i can win, but i am making a point." host: you write that the field is larger than 1976, years after
the watergate scandal took down president nixon and the year the gop took control of congress for the first time in four decades. he said the next largest field was in 1992 when bill clinton, george h. w. bush and ross perot battle for the white house. stronger numbers now? guest: we thought it was interesting, particularly the 1994 election. you thought there would have been a surge then. but there was not. but there was not. the next highest total was in 1992, when you had that memorable presidential race between clinton and george stage h.w. bush and ross perot. the record 100 candidates that year. -- there were 2100 candidates that year. host: tell us about what you are watching. with the runoff and arkansas,
battles and nevada, california. guest: there are 12 states with primaries. it should give another indication of just where the electorate is, just how angry voters are. there are two races were incumbents seem to be on the ropes. in arkansas, blanche lincoln, a two-term democratic senator is being challenged from the left by the lieutenant governor. she was forced into a runoff in the primary and their runoff is tuesday. it is never good for an incumbent when you are forced into a runoff. so she has her work cut out for her. and in south carolina, a six- term congressman is being challenged from the right by a conservative and conservative voters who have accused him of being too moderate. there is another two-party challenge there.
those will be interesting to watch. and in california, you have two big games running for governor. you have meg whitman and carly fiorina, two top executives who are spending a ton of money to run for governor and senate. they are also being challenged on the right and some accusing them of being too moderate. it would be interesting to see if the money they have spent can put them over the top, this movement in the republican party to shift more to the right. the same thing is happening in nevada, where you have three republicans fighting to challenge the senate majority leader harry reid. a lot of people are eager to see what kind of a candidate will be put up against him. and some other interesting races. in south carolina, the governor's race, the republican primary recently heated up with
a lot of allegations of sexual infidelity and that sort of thing. that race has become interesting as well. host: give us a sense of what the takeaway maybe from tuesday. it is early to tell, but if some of the more conservative candidates win, does that give a signal as to how the general election may go? guest: i think one thing people may look for, particularly in the early republican primaries, you have seen a couple of republicans -- bob bennett in utah, a three-term the senator who was very popular year ago, lee is in a primary a few weeks ago. you saw -- very popular a year ago, lose and a primary. you saw charlie crist being pushed out of the republican primary and accused of being too moderate. on the republican side, that is what i am looking -- are you
going to see that trend continue, where the so-called moderate candidates are losing d, the tea party-fuelde conservative candidates are winning? i think that is what you would expect. on the democratic side, you are seeing that with the blanche lincoln race and arkansas. you have labor unions and people on the left are very frustrated with her as being too conservative. that is why she is getting this challenge from the left. host: ben evans, political reporter with the associated press, thank you for joining us. following on that, this is a piece from "the new york times" looking at the race and arkansas -- unions take a stand in the arkansas race. they have knocked on 170,000 doors, and spent almost $6
million on television and radio advertisements. that is how badly labor unions want to defeat senator blanche lincoln. even though arkansas's labor force is one of the least unionized, labor has thrown its support behind mrs. lincoln's primary challenger, bill halter. the unions have made the race the centerpiece of the new effort to hold union-backed candidates accountable for their vote after they are elecced. the push is fueled by a frustration that goes back years and is a peak in the health care debate. -- and has peaked in the health care debate. looking at other races across the country, we have a full list of the race is happening tuesday -- iowa, maine, house and governor, california, senate and governor, montana has a house race, new jersey has a house
race as does virginia, south carolina has senate and governor and south dakota has senate and governor along with house races and all of those states. the questions continue about how influential are are the politicians when it comes to your vote? do they motivate you to get out and have a voice in the primaries? former governor sarah palin has given her support to a handful of candidates, including haley, running for south carolina governor. she also came out this past week to endorse a candidate who is running against senator lisa murkowski. that is up in alaska, murkowski is a republican there. the former governor palin endorsed little-known -- "competition makes everybody worker, be more efficient,
debate clear, and produce more. the the media has tried to trace some sort of feud or bad blood between lisa and myself, such as the case. it is my firm belief we need a bold reformer. chris, democrats line in new haven connecticut. what do you think? caller: i definitely believe in electing newd an candidates. i am 59 years old. my entire life i have voted in every election except for what i was disqualified for. but i have never been able to vote in a primary because, until now, i have never been registered with the political party that had a primary. i was briefly in the greens, and we did not have the primary. in honor of senator kennedy, i joined the democrats to push for health care change. and we do have a primary in
connecticut, at least for our governor's race, which is something that you are not paying much attention to, but i am proud to be able to cast a vote in that election because it is what we do with our votes that makes the difference. and we do not need things like mechanisms for term limits. we need to get out there and express our points of view. i am a democrat, but i admire the tea party people for going out and expressing their point of view in their primaries. we have to have a healthy debate. the only way we can do that is by voting. host: the other question is -- are you not motivated to vote in primaries? were there times when you were not motivated to vote? that would be interesting to hear about. let's go to sarasota, florida, gordon, independent line. what do you think? caller: i do not vote in
primaries because i do not think there is any difference between a democrat and republican. i think they are all subject to the same economic councils, the same banking, the same behind- the-scenes people. i do not think it makes a difference to you get. host: the vote in general elections? caller: yes, i will vote in the general election. the general election. last time i did not because my candidate was a republican, ron paul, but he did not get nominated. i did not see a difference between obama or mccain. i think they both supported the war, which i am against. both supported the federal reserve and keeping that a secret. i did not see any reason to vote for him. they both voted for the stimulus package. they both voted for bailing out banks. so i did not see any reason to vote. host: are you worried your voice will not be heard?
caller: i think not voting is a protest vote. i am willing to get up and go? absolutely. do i'd participate in rallies -- participated in rallies? absolutely. i will vote for issue-oriented folks. if there is something on the ballot that is an issue i am interested in, i will go and vote for that issue. host: let's go to daytona beach shores, republican line, john caller. caller: i am a big believer in primaries and voting them with regularity. quite often, there are ancillary issues that are on our primary ballot over and above candidates. secondly, this year in florida, had we not had the primary elections, which our upcoming, we would have had charlie crist as our republican nominee. by virtue of the fact we're
having this primary and mark rubio got out ahead -- you saw what charlie crist did come out jumping party in favor of their own skin. it is repulsive to me. i am so happy we are having this primary to get rid of a guy like crist. host: the think people will be motivated to go out and vote fo r rubio? know they will. you'll find one of the largest turnout in the history of florida this year. people are motivated this year. host: let's take a look at "newsmakers". agriculture secretary tom vilsack. host: you are concerned about the greek economy. >we guest: we have had a robust set of commitments from china and the grain area.
we are seeking to reopen markets in japan, korea, and taiwan for our beef and pork products. we have renewed discussions with russia on poultry. there are opportunities for us outside of the european union that are important and we will continue to expand those opportunities, to make new partnerships. one of the reasons why the president focused on the transpacific discussions is a way of multilaterally engaging in the new trade agreements. there are free trade agreements converse will hopefully be able to work on and ratified -- in panama, colombia. there is a lot of trade opportunities outside of the european union. host: you can see the entire interview on "newsmakers" at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. let's take a look at other news right now going on. this from the associated press,
two new jersey man who allegedly intended to kill american troops were arrested saturday before boarding flights on their way to joined a group in somalia. this looks at the star-ledger of newark reported that two men were arrested at jfk international airport before they could board separate flights to egypt and continue on this about. officials familiar with the details spoke on condition of anonymity. also, looking at the "miami herald." looking at the news from there. bp bosses on likely to face jail. well they can expect heavy fines from the oil spill, past catastrophes show that company officials rarely face criminal charges. they are following that story
very closely as it relates to florida's shores. they have a photograph -- beach patrol workers bag tar balls a long casino beach in the florida panhandle. we will speak with a gentleman from the audubon society later in the program. what motivvtes you to vote in primaries or what does not motivate you? let's go to huntington beach, california, ron, independent line. caller: good morning. it is a very early over here. i am testing for a case of insomnia, and i am glad i did. i would like to very much time into this conversation. basically, i believe, and i think the history of the united states supports it, that the primaries are the most on the democratic future of our electoral system-- the most undemocratic feature of our electoral system.
our founding fathers called parties factions and most of the documentation they wrote. the way the electoral system is supposed to work is that districts elect people based on the perceived needs of the people in the district. and it should be an open primary. sort of like what louisiana has were all candidates run against each other -- the first ballot. and then that person goes to washington and compromises, if need be, or create coalitions with other representatives on individual issues. that way you actually get a sense of what the electorate feels like on an individual issue. host: let's go to johnson county, north carolina, democratic color. caller: democratic and
republicans just do not get it. we vote for change every year. what are they going to do? we have primaries going on down here at, coming up. and they will not get it. host: what are they not getting? do you think it makes a difference to vote in the primaries? caller: yes. and have to put your voice up there. it has got to be heard. no matter what happens, if you want to change what is going on in congress. host: richmond, virginia. william, republicans line. hi, william per. caller: good morning and thank you for putting up with the people. it is very important that we vote in the primaries so we can pick people who believe in freedom and integrity and get away from playing the blame game. this current bunch we have, all they know how to do is play the and demonize and
punished. that is not the way to success. that is a way to failure. love your fellow americans. it is a bit foolish and indirect to hate one another? believe in the american dream and work hard and stop playing the blame game. host: connecticut. andrew, independent line. caller: nothing motivates me to vote any more because of the past politicians who sold us out. that is all i have to say. thank you. host: looking at primary election battles going on. we talked about what is happening this coming tuesday. they continue on throughout the summer -- june, 22nd, utah, july 20, georgia, july 27, oklahoma, kansas, michigan, missouri, in august, colorado and
connecticut, washington and wyoming, august 24, alaska, arizona and -- september 14, delaware, maryland, massachusetts, minnesota, new hampshire, rhode island, vermont, wisconsin and in september on the 18th, hawaii. october 2, louisiana if ruffs are necessary. taking us into the fall when the general election will be held next november -- october 2, louisiana, if runoffs are necessary. caller: what motivates me to vote in primaries is i know the value of my vote. i can do more on local issues. the electoral college elects the president. i can do my vote on local issues. smoking issues, gambling issues. in arizona, i bet the immigration thing was on the bill.
you have to get out and vote for these things. you can vote for your mayor. you start with a grass roots. you start with your local community. that is something you can do something about. people that say they just vote for president are stupid. they do not know how to use their vote and the right way. i vote on local issues and in every primary. host: looking at the california senate race, "the new york times" has a right up of that position. republicans face a battle there on tuesday. "the new york times" says, to appreciate how tough it is to be a democrat or or -- in incumbent this year, look no further than that barbara boxer. this is an election with national consequences. ittis hard to see how republicans could pick up the senate without winning this seat. what will be the outcome of the three-way primary among republicans that? baltimore, maryland, keith, republicans line. caller: yeah, i just wanted to
know, i mean, with this thing down in louisiana, i mean, i think it is ridiculous that they are letting these people get away with this kind of stuff. hello? host: yeah. caller: yeah. i think it is ridiculous they are letting people get away with this stuff. host: let's look at that news coming out of the gulf of mexico. this is from the associated press. bp chief executive said sunday he will not step down over the oil spill and predicted his company will recover from the disaster. hayward said he would not quit and he had the absolute intention of seeing this through to the end. "we are going to stop the leak. we are going to clean up the oil, we are going to mediate any environmental damage and we are going to return the gulf coast
to the position that was prior to this event. we are making good on our promises." democrats line. caller: this may be the most important primary of my generation i have ever seen. [inaudible] -- there is a gentleman i support named tim curtis, running for the democratic nomination for congress in my district against kathy castor. if, by change -- [inaudible] host: you are starting to break up on us, thank you for joining. let's go to robert, republican line in ohio. caller: thank you for taking my call. one of the biggest problems we have and our country today is the 17th amendment. i think we need to go back to the constitution, where it says that each state takes the
senators -- picks the senators, the state legislatures pick the senators to go to washington. when they invoke the 17th amendment, but it made our country our democracy insttad of a republic. and we need to get back to a republic again. and, when they took, when they invoked the 17th amendment, it took estates advice and consent away from the state government -- the state's advice and consent away from the state. the people already have the state rep. host: "the new york times" looked at rand and ron paul today. it talks about how they grew up as a family and their family values. they produce a like-minded thinkers and that family. rand paul described his father as his political hero but is quick to emphasize he is never
been dependent on him. "i think my dad has helped me tremendously. but the only way i win is on my own two feet. ron believes you're not supposed to initiate forced on anyone else. her husband supported self- reliance on his children. they described a traditional household with early american decor and a frequent or raw lot of chocolate chip cookies, not fish sticks. the libertarian views prevailed in raising the children. let's go to michigan. rosemary on the democrats' line. hi, rose mary. caller: i would like to make a comment about voting on the primaries. i have always voted straight democratic ticket for 43 years and i have tried to put people in with my similar ideas. but i have been very disgusted. what i really want to make a
comment about his or governor, which is a democrat. she took my vote away on the no smoking issue. she made our state and no- smoking state. we did not vote for it. i know a lot of people that do not like the right taken away. the smoking issue, i mean, people can go without smoking in a restaurant or in a bingo hall or in lodges if they choose to. if the establishment chooses to. i have been very disgusted about this issue. i was wondering, i have been trying to find out why and how when we vote in primaries for people that we feel are going to represent us and not to take our rights away. i would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak with cnn. and i wonder -- i know of few
people have the same issues i have. i do not like my vote taken away, but when we vote on primaries, and people run on certain issues about jobs and we vote these people in, we are not voting them in to take away rights. host: let's look at "the washington post", which talks about are recent primary runoff, face-off. alabama democrats seek a new start after davis's defeat. he was seen it with the same language as they used to describe barack obama. he seemed on the quick path to the governor's chair in the montgomery state house. they are skeptical that he could win, but he shot ahead by double digits in the poll. then came last tuesday. it was yet another dispiriting
performance by an alabama democrat. they see themselves all around -- democrats control the state legislature, but the reflection is cast by republicans who hold most of the top tiered collected offices such as governor and attorney general. it talks about why one of the reasons he did not succeed in the primary is because he did not seek the support of african american groups within his state. the article talks about how that may have ultimately hurt him in the end. let's go to nevada. william, republicans like. will you vote on tuesday? caller: yes, i will. host: why? caller: because i think they should be litigating -- mitigating damage down there and the gulf and freeze that water out. if everything is frozen up solid
they will save the wildlife. they are taking too long to freeze that water opera. up. they only need to lower the temperature or couple of degrees and they will turn everything to ice. dumping cargo containers of dry ice down there, it will sink right down to the bottom. and they can also use snow blowing machines to snow on that site in freeze that water up solid. it will stop the leak in its tracks. host: ok. looking at what is coming up on c-span, on tuesday, we will cover the primary elections going on across the country there will ere tuesday evening on the c-span -- that will air tuesday night on c-span. tonight, we will look at the arkansas and u.s. senate race between the democrats running on
tuesday's primary runoff election. coming up, we will look at presidents in political crisis with our guest. but first and use of state -- news update. >> on abc's "this week," they will speak with the coast guard national incident commander. national republican senatorial committee chairman john corning and senate foreign relations committee chairman john kerry. the guests on fox news sunday include an brought allen, mississippi republican governor haley barbour and israel's ambassador to the u.s. on face the nation, you will hear an admiral allen and florida democratic senator bill nelson. on cnn's state of the union, guests include thad allen, charlie crist, and ahead of
tuesday's arkansas democratic primary runoff, blanche lincoln and her challenger lieutenant governor bill halter. is pre-meet the press"" empted by sports coverage. you can listen to that on the radio at 90.1 and on the web at cspanradio.org. >> everyone has an agenda. as long as you know what it is, that is the story you can write about. street journal" investigative reporter brody mullins has written a piece on the trips taken by lawmakers oversees a funded by taxpayers. >> david cameron fields
questions as head of the coalition government, tonight at 9:00 on c-span. today on book tv, a legal scholar martha nussbaum. she has written or contributed to more than 20 books on liberal education, ethics, sexism, and legal justice. join our 3 our discussion on the n c- tv's "in depth" o span2. >> monday, efforts to expand broadband and organic with the public utility chairman ray baum. and time warner's recent restructuring announcement and what it means to their cable customers. "the communicators," monday, on c-span2.
"washington journal" continues. host: thank you for being with us. we are here to talk about how president obama has responded to the gulf oil spill and using you to give us some expertise on how president's response to a crisis situation. have you seen this as a landmark, a crisis of the presidency? t.ller it is the greate it did not appear to be as big as it later became when it first broke. host: is there anything you can compare this to, having an environmental disaster become a crisis? guest: the obvious comparison is katrina. the key distinction is that there -- he has a villain to blame. it was an act of god when the hurricane hit.
here, british petroleum could not be a better for land for the obama administration. it is an oil company. until now, this has not hit obama as administration as badly as katrina hit bush. host: with president bush and his response to katrina, the public's response was solidified soon afterwards, even though he did make trips to louisiana in the weeks following. is it important that a president's first 24-48 hours, the time the public remembers? guest: it can be. hours has not48 been judged harshly. if i could say a word of defense of a former president, on the facts of the matter, the reason he did not land his plane and go was because there was so chaos going on and that adding the incredible security considerations of a presidential visit would not have been a good
thing as a matter of fact. his white house needed to think the way up to demonstrate more concern and looking out of a plane window. host: we have some footage of president bush giving a speech in new orleans. >> to every person who has served and sacrificed in this emergency, i offer the gratitude of our country. tonight, i also offer this pledge of the american people -- throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes. we will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives. and all a question the future of the crescent city need to know, there is no way to imagine america without new orleans. this great city will rise again. host: president george w. bush, a few weeks after katrina. is that speech reflective of his
president, the way he handled crises? guest: this was already on solidified impression that he was not doing enough. this was not a bad speech, but it was nowhere near enough to erase the impression that as kanye west said, george bush does not care about black people, who were the primary victims of the katrina disaster. host: one thing the president has to do it is multitask in deal with many things on different fronts. can you tell how crisis looms large and our president has to deal with may be happening in that intense moment, but also dealing with all the other things on his plate? guest: republicans have attacked him, saying the bp disaster happened and you went to a fund raiser. presidents have to think -- what will it look like if i keep doing political things? i think back to the iran hostage crisis when jimmy carter, for example, said, i am not leaving the white house.
it was called the rose garden strategy. he refused to campaign against ted kennedy. he said, i have to monitor the hostage crisis. politically, it was brilliant. he was not anywhere near as good a campaigner as ted kennedy. he could stay in the white house and say i care more about the american people. it is a good reason why ted kennedy lost. host: the story is "obama and the chaos perception." take a cautionary tale of jimmy carter. in fact, inflation was probably at the core of carter's troubles, but those other misfortunes contributed, too. you have to factor in the meltdown of three mile island, soviet tanks in afghanistan, and
skylab. in other words, an era of chaos and a belief that the president had too little control over larger forces in the universe. this explains the appeal of ronald reagan, whose cinematic percent suggested that he would of lassoed the satellite and hurled it back into space." guest: it emphasizes how chance plays a role. no one would claim that three mile island was jimmy carter's fault, but the president is not -- the presidency is not fair. you are responsible for what happens on your watch. the clock is ticking on obama. he avoided katrina-scale blame so far. if we are in august or september, the and this oil well is not kept in these pictures are not changed, the blame will go to obama, fair or not tfair. host: it is not really one
crisis, as much as a succession of crises. this may be the real danger for the administration -- is a theme that the media love to see -- the white house not able to manage events. obama is trying to portray an image of competence. but then it in the media, the switch around and say, he is not showing enough strain and emotion. it is a very moving target. host: talking about what the criteria is for judging a good president. guest: that is a very large question. crises are only part of the presidency. how much crisis management plays a role in your presidency is a matter of chance. but i would say, in this
specific moment of crisis, the way we judge the president is, do they make decisions well? do they have a timetable for decisions? because you can make the right decision to all late. i think it was eisenhower who said, we should not make a decision before you have a 40% of the information necessary, but you should not wait until you have more than 60%. if you wait longer than that, the moment has passed into missed the opportunity. host: our guest is dr. germai jeremy mayor, with george mason university. you can call our democrats line, 202-737-0002, republicans line, 202-737-0001, and independence line, 202-628-0205. caller: i have several comments.
the first comment is that i think it is unreeled to compare hurricane katrina to this oil spill -- it is unreal. bush -- he got involved. you have a democratic governor there. he waited too late. the media was in there showing these dreadful pictures of people dying. the american people could not understand, if the media can get in there, why can the government? with this oil spill, everybody knows the federal government does not do any drilling. they are not involved in doing any kind of drilling. so, there is nothing the government can do itself. hope that the peak can get fixed and go in there and do the cleanup. -- hope that bp can get it fixed. guest: right now we are dependent on bp. the federal government does not have resources that would be applicable to this issue. that is a key distinction.
but i key similarity between this situation is the federal government did play our role in both disasters long before they happen. there were reports about the levees around new orleans long before katrina. if they ever got hit by the category four, there would be epoch destruction. we did nothing. that is the blame on every presidential administration prior to that. in the case of bp, there was a federal government involvement in giving licensing and authorizing this drilling to take place. there was blame to go around long before anything. host: you mentioned optics. there was a news conference that the president did recently about bp. it has been what they call the optics. suggested thatg they want to see a more
visceral president. they want to have clinton and feeling or pan. guest: what to they want obama to do? do they want him to go down to the coast and watch a . ? it is a 20th-century thing. the greatest crisis -- had not madet clincoln his decisions, we might have had to gwo countries. host: max, on our independent line. gooddmorning. calle caller: i am 83 years old. i am one of a number of people that are just old, that call you. i wonder why people do not take
obama to task more for the things he does not -- i voted for the man and i thought i would see some change. and i see nothing. i thought we were going to be out of these wars by now. i cannot understand why he stays in. why does he continue to spend our money over there. i do not believe there is that much danger from those people over there. i cannot understand why he keeps doing it. as far as the thing in florida, down there, when i first retired from illinois, i lived there -- i am a florida resident now. but we have traveled, we were in a grand isle for months. this was in 1995. you could not walk on the beach. if you walked in the distance, you got a tar ball on your foot. i do not think this is the greatest thing obama ever faced.
white house bl laid on the other one there is a cabinet meeting about the oil spill and sometimes as many as three briefings a day that include the president himself. and then jumping over to look at what can come from crisis, the white house has also prospected for political opportunity in the crisis. mr. obama has tried to direct some of the public outrage toward reviving climate change legislation, a key part that is suddenly showing glimors of life in the senate. can you give us a sense of times when presidents have used a crisis to further an agenda? >> i think jimmy carter shows a cautionary example, because what carter tried to do, he tried to low ter speed limit to 5 miles an hour reduce our oil
consumption. but people saw it as unrelated or very op tunistic. so he has to be careful linking his agenda to something that can come back and haunt him. >> struggling to gain control of the unknown. white house officials complain that they're caught between contradict rg narratives. that the president is not engaged enough in the details or that he is getting bogged down in them. he should spend more time in the gulf, or that his repeated trips down there are mere publicity students. >> the presidency is the class yick damned if you do, and damned if you don't. there will be people who say whatever you do is wrong. that's true in a crisis or not. but going back to op tunistic, i think america missed an opportunity in the crisis of 9/11. george bush in his magnificent speech could have looked america in the eye and said we
need to raise gas taxes because it's our addiction to oil that is funding this terror and it has all sorts of negative consequences and he could have cut taxes elsewhere and we cut taxes elsewhere and we would have reduced oil consumption to a great degree. that's the kind of use of a crisis that i think lingers in a positive way. but we mised that one. and obama could do that one today in response to bp but yoss that happening. >> edward, republican in gibbs down new jersey, good morning. caller: good morning. i'm not going to sound probably like a republican but i'm going to try to tell it like it is. obama entered the office under obama entered the office under really rough circumstances, an economy that was collapsing, jobs that were going at over 700,000 per month, two wars unfunded. this bp oil spill unlike katrina there was no advanced
warning. and this is unprecedented in the manner that a leak that far beneath the surface, approximately a mile, has never occurred. and bp went ahead and has drilled this, these type of wells without having any type of emergency plan or fail safe just for profit. and obama is starting to look worse er day, but he's not a fizzsist. you know, coming up with a solution for this is bp's responsibility and it's crystal clear to me they have no idea. host: and yet of course the federal government is charged with regulating them, making sure they have action plans. guest: although these permits were issued under the prior administration. so is it fair to blame obama
for not reviewing permits that were issued? were issued? and tazz caller said, this has never happened before. point of correction, there were approved disaster treatment or disaster response plans. bp filed them, the government said ok. they were utterly inadequate and some corners were cut as far as we can tell. there's going to be a lot of investigations, and we'll find out to what extent the government shares blame for this. >> host: we have a graphic here from cq weekly who should lead bp or the federal government? and it says now polls indicate that bp rather than government can and should handle the disaster and recovery. 28% said the feds, 68 prdsbp. this is a poll survey conducted in late may. has there been a time when a corporation or another entity has had so yutch way over a crisis? guest: i can't think of a single time. the valdez disaster is one
comparable thing but it didn't occupy the attention of a nation as much as this one. the other thing is the exxon valdez, we knew there was this amount of oil and that's it. it was a ship. we simply don't know when the oil is going to stop gushing. so there's a perception in the country that this problem is getting worse and worse b, and why aren't they doing something? it is not fair, as the caller noted, to blame obama. but the presidency is responsible for this situation. host: how did the previous president handle the oil spill up in alaska? guest: well, he largely kept a hands-off attitude. there wasn't daily press conferences, compared to obama's involvement in this it was much, much less. but the president's response is in part determined by the public's appetite for presidential involvement. host: let's take a look at president carter. we've been talking about him a little bit. this is his speech about the crisis of confidence.
>> i want to speak to you first tonight about a subject even more serious than energy or inflation. i want to talk to you right now about a fundamental threat to american democracy. i do not mean our political and civil liberties. they will endure. and i do not refer to the outward strength of america, the nation that is at peace tonight everywhere in the world with unmatched economic power and military might. the threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways it is a crisis of confidence. it is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. we can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives.
and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation. the erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of america. host: what did that speech do to the american perception of the president? guest: we remember it as an epic failure. it encapsulates everything that didn't work about the president sy. it's almost a manufactured speech. carter had made some cabinet shifts, he was clearly struggling in the polls. people knew there was blood in the water for his reelection fight so he manufactured a crisis and he gave a speech that left many americans wondering, huh? if there's a crisis in confidence, you're the president, bucco. it's your job to inspire us,
not to identify what's wrong with us. and the contrast with reagan. reagan would never go on tv and reagan would never go on tv and say, america isn't feeling good about itself. he would consider it his job as america's de facto king to inspire us in moments of dark struggle. host: let's go to the democrat's line in springfield, illinois. caller: good morning. i agree with your guest that jimmy carter did to kind allay their apathy. i think that was harmful to the american psyche as a whole because that didn't contribute to any inspiration coming from the white house, and i think that is a key thing that people want and they still want it. i think they need to feel contact with the president and
their elected officials, and i think that is kind of what obama is trying to play catch up with now in going down to the gulf multiple times and trying to show just a little more hands-on connectedness to the american public. guest: i agree. i think that obama has to avoidd his own tendency to be froff sorely and to overanalyze the nuanced, give 17-minute length-long answers to simple questions. so far in bp he has done that. but that would be the type of danger that he shares with carter. and carter's speech was based and carter's speech was based on the work of a cultural critic named christopher lash and dell fed into some deep intellectual issues. and if we are debating this, carter made some good points but it wasn't the kind of thing america wanted to hear from its president during a time when america was doing quite badly
economically in its foreign policy. host: let's take a look at president reagan speaking the night of the challenger explosion back in 1986. >> i've always had great faith in and respect for our space program and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. we don't hide our space program, we don't keep secrets and cover things up. we do it all up front and in public. that's the way freedom is and we wouldn't change it for a minute. we will continue our quest in space. there will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews, and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. nothing ends here. our hopes and our journey continues. i want to add that i wish i could talk to every man and could talk to every man and woman that works for nasa or who worked on this mission and tell them, your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades and we know of your anguish. we share it.
guest: the greatest speeches in the aftermath of a crisis, the presidency in the modern eye rahass ever seen. what reagan did is touched mistic cords of patriotism in the american soul at a moment when we were all going what happened? i remember watching that speech live and the end where he says they reached out their hands to touch the face of god, i think most americans had a tier in their eye. it really is simply the text book case of how a presidency, a white house, a team of speech writers need to respond at a moment like this. host: let's go to new york state. caller: good morning. you talk of optics. i think optics are for the media and for those who can afford optics. my husband was not laid off recently but he was laid off under the first george bush. and so perhaps my feed feet are
in reality more than a lot of american's feet are, they're american's feet are, they're placed firmly on the ground. i think what americans look for from their president in the end is results. i am not a huge lover of ronald reagan because i found his trickle-down comics actually in the end is what caused my husband's downsizing of a job. i've been voting since jimmy carter and the president who benefited me to date was bill clinten because my husband was rehired under bill clinton's administration. guest: i think you make an excellent point. there is something to say for optics. but at the end of the day, results matter. and i think of harry truman as a great example. when he left office, he had polling results of 22%. but the long-term benefits of
his policies lingrd and i think that presidents can get too absorbed with the optics. that was a common complaint about clinton, by the way, so how do you balance, as a voter, whether someone is making you feel they're successful or if they're actually successful? the caller suggests that it's your own personal economic situation that you should use to judge a presidency. but again, that isn't all that fair. it isn't obama's fault that someone loses a job tomorrow. is it? but that family may believe that it was the obama years in which my family experienced terrible turmoil. host: looking at the idea of being transformational president. president obama's dream of being a trons formational figure may be slipping from his grasp. and he talks about some of the things that may be problematic. the recession, the year-long
fight over health care. and the president misled the political landscape at home and abroad and overestimated his ability to bend people his way. how do crises affect a president's ability to have a transformational legacy? guest: it sucks the oxygen out of everything you want to do. for months so much of the attention of his staff and presidency have been focused on the gulf. but that doesn't mean that i think the prior caller is right that results matter in the end. so if health care is viewed ten years from now as a success, maybe it had some mistakes, starting hick cups but overall national hirns works, then barack obama's presidency will be remembered as a successful be remembered as a successful one most likely. host: baltimore, maryland. republican. hi, anthony. caller: yes. the gentleman mentioned a few minutes ago that there was at
one point blood in the water, that old political phrase. well, literally we now have oil in the water down in louisiana and of course it's affecting the entire southern coastline of this country. it is by far a national issue. it is one that the president of the united states is going to be ultimately held accountability for bp might be responsible but it will be the president who is looked at in terms of his ability to finally account for the results there. let me just say this. i'm an african american, i was very proud to have voted for president barack obama. it was perhaps the most historic election in my lifetime. i might not get another opportunity to vote for a viable african american candidate for president at 66 years. i'm beginning to think, however, that i made the
classic political mistake. politicians like things the way they want them to be. the world of course confronts a the world of course confronts a president with the way things are. and i'm beginning to ask myself, whether or not i voted for a gentleman who is a lot of things but is lacking in one major area, and that is the major area, and that is the breadth and width of experience necessary to run a major, major, the major country in the world. guest: crises do result in instant judgments of the president and his personal qualities. i think the best recent example is 9/11 because we had a president who at the time was not polling all that well. he was quite young. he had had only six years as governor of texas which is the weakest of all a governors and not a lot of administrative experience.
and he gets out there and he is outclatsdzed by mayor giuliani, the first four statements to the nation is very weak. and then he has his moment and america says, ok, a leader is in charge. and this is a testing point for obama. there will be lingering perceptions about if he's capable. and he does face challenges that are unique to him. because he's not just the first african american president but he has a very thin resume. so if he looks inexperienced and he looks like he is not on top of the facts and the situation, then he will pay a heavy political price. host: your book, 9/11, aftershocks of the attack looking at what happened in the aftermath of 9/11. when president bush, when we reflect on his action, his persona zurg that crisis, do people remember that bull horn moment the most? there's also the footage of him of course when he was first told of the incident not
leaving a group of school children to go up and do something. guest: i think in the first few months we remember the successful george bush. the speech on the bull horn was a turning point. up until that point when he spoke to us, the speeches to the nation on the night, the very brief statement that he made as he was fliing around the country trying to find a safe place to land, and then that phone call, these were dastruss. these were not good speeches, not well delivered. he didn't say much. he sounded alternatively stiff and formal and very, very folksy. so i and a lot of americans were like, woe, this is not good. and then with the bull horn moment and the september 20th speech, that was the greatest speech that george bush ever gave. it was very well written speech and it said important things. i he also did an interesting thing people forgot. in that first week he visited a mosque in washington and he made it very clear that this
was not to be a war against muslims, not to be a war against islam. in the aftermath of pearl harbor, f.d.r. did nothing like that and we know how that turned out. george bush's response was very bad at first and then quite good. host: st. louis, missouri. gloria democrat's line. caller: good morning. i would just like to first of all refer to what an earlier caller said about opt 86 and what you have been discussing about optics. i am sick and tired about optics. that's an optical illusions. the media is portraying that optical is as important as being. it's not. i do have a question. why do you think president obama doesn't take the quote unquote opportunity of this disaster to lay the disaster squarely at the feet of the
bush-cheney administration where it belongs? i do think it's time to put this disaster, this trageey of gigantic proportions exactly where it belongs. and one last comment to the gentleman who just called a little earlier about the leadership of barack obama. i shiver to think what would have happened if we would have had the alternate leadership in place during this dire situation. guest: well, i think that barack obama has suggested that bush's administration bears some of the cuppability. but i don't mean to focus on optics too much because i share your concern that the modern your concern that the modern presidency is far too consumed with image management. i wrote an article about that on image management and the way it's consuming presidential time in a way it didn't in the era of eisenhower and truman. but that's the world we live
in. the american people follows these things and learn about them through a visual way. and if barack obama said i'm going to do the right thing and ignore the optics and his poll ratings went to 25% while he's doing the right thing, whatever doing the right thing, whatever the right thing would be, then everything else he is trying to achieve in washington would become impossible. because a president who is at 25% of the polls will get nothing through congress. so i hate to say this but the optics are very, very important. and the optics of blaming bush for this on top of blaming him for the banking crisis, blaming him for the recession, blaming him for the war in iraq, the american public at some point wants to hear what are you going to do about it. so the question for the obama administration is whether george bush will be a carter or a hoover. hoover was someone the democrats could continue to blame 40 years after he left
office. if george w. bush's presidency lingers as a bad smell for as long as hoover's did, then maybe you're right and maybe the barack obama administration should take your advice and blame george bush more. but i'm not sure that that's the strategy they need to be adopting right now. and finally, caller, your and finally, caller, your strategy is an optics suggestion. gloria, you can't get away from that. if that's what you're suggesting they should blame, that has an optical scommonent. host: what's the difference between a crisis that comes to play that unravels in secret versus one that happens in the public eye? guest: we have a lot fewer secret crises today. one of the great advantages that kennedy had is he had 13 days between when he found out about the russians missiles being built in cuband when the public was told about them. washington didn't leak as much. washington didn't leak as much. the media didn't have as many international sources. and things could be kept quiet. so those crises what you feel
is the weight of history much more and you worry less about these optics and how to make that speech and that sort of thing. so when a president faces something today, the timeline is not 13 days. usually it's like when is the "washington post" or cnn going to find out about this and how do we make it look good before that happens. host: and what is the role of crisis when it comes to political campaigns? in this post-9/11 world, is it more effective way to use who will hand tl crisis bet sner guest: you think we are looking at presidents better at how will they answer that 2:00 a.m. phone call? there was the great example when reagan was president that you had these forces engaged with lybian fighters and they didn't wake reagan up immediately because we shot down their planes. down their planes. if they shot down two of ours, they would have woken me up.
so we have this situation where presidents are judged by how they respond to those 2:00 a.m. crises. host: let's take a look at the hillary clinton 3:00 a.m. ad. >> 3:00 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. but there's a phone in the white house and it's ringing. something's happened in the world. your vote will decide who answers that call. whether it's someone who already knows the world's leaders, knows the military, someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world. it's 3:00 a.m. and your children are asleep. who do you want answering the phone? >> i'm hillary clinton and i approve this message. guest: and they tried to use that inexperience attack against obama and it was one of the best ads of the cam bane -- campaign because america did have doubts. and hillary clinton love her or hate her she's been in the room for a lot of important debates. she has, we assume, the
experience to take that 2:00 a.m. phone call. host: let's go to west virginia where john is on the independent line. caller: i would like to say first thing, thankkc-span for giving us this forum. and i think for giving me an opportunity to say something today. henry ford said don't find fault, find a cure. i stood before a local community and told them that i had designed something that would cure the problem in the gulf. it's an auguster system that would cure the problem. it would seal that hole. and i have i would like to say i'm from west virginia and my phone number is 304 -- host: committee stay focused on this idea of presidents in + crisis. we're going to talk about the gulf spill later show. caller: that's what i'm trying to say. the problem is we want everybody blaming, everybody
wants to say what's wrong and blame and blame and blame, but the president doesn't have access to the little guy like me who can point at the problem and say this will cure it. guest: i have a friend working for the corte guard in the gulf and he says a few people have had their cell phone numbers released and getting calls all the time from well meaning citizens like the caller who have figured out how to plug this hole. i think it's emblematic at how unique this crisis is. this is a crisis where average citizens are almost the equal of many of the top people in government because they literally don't know what to do. no one has faced a crisis like this with oil spewing more than a mile down in the gulf. host: maveren, republican's line in milwaukee, wisconsin. caller: good morning. i think most of the things you've been talking about this morning are kind of short-term
things. i think the crisis for our president is not the short-term type of thing, it's if you look back our problem is that we're losing the american lifestyle. if you look back through 50s, 60, 70, and 80s, we had a lifestyle then that we will never see again, and i think that's the true crisis in this country. i think most of the oil spill definitely is a manger problem, definitely the wars are a problem. but these are relatively short-term things. i think the true crisis today is the loss of the american lifestyle. as evidenced by our debt and things like that. and our social improvements. guest: but caller, if barack obama took your point of view and i imagine there are people in his administration agree but that middle class is
disappearing, they wouldn't advise that barack obama give a speech about it. if you are right and there are these large, slow moving crises, the modern presidency has a difficult time grasping them. host: what would your advice be right now? guest: they don't call me as often as they should to get my advice, so i have to go on c-span and i'm sure they're watching carefully. but i think that right now with the bp crisis, if that's what your question is about, he is doing not a bad job with a bad situation. he has been there, he's communicating with his top officials on a regular basis. i don't know what else he could be doing. i'm not unhappy with his response to this crisis. but sometimes you're hand add situation where whatever you do, your administration is going to end up, and i hate to use this term, tarred with this swage. and i think that's the situation he is facing. host: how responsive should
presidents be to public opinion and polls that say you're lingering too long on this crisis or you need to pay more attention? guest: i think they need to be aware of the polls but not let all their decision bs poll driven. if you follow the public opinion on aday to day basis, you're going to be like a sail boat tacking without direction. you need to use the public support efficiently and be aware of it. but touf have long-term goals for where you want the country to be. and again, i go back to reagan. i didn't agree with a lot of the things reagan did but he had two or three very long-term goals they wanted to achieve and was willing to get very unpopular. we forget how unpopular reagan was in 1982 when his policies led to a recession. he says he was working inflation out of the system and he ultimately presided over an economic recovery. some of our callers are unhappy
with the depth of that recovery and i would share some of those concerns. but as a matter of the presidency, and the historian's view, ronald reagan is not looking too bad these days. host: germy mayer, -- jeremy mayer, thank you. guest: thank you. host: coming up next, cities in fiscal trouble. but first, a look at the past week through eyes of the nation's cartoonists.
host: thanks so much for being with us. guest: thank you. happy to be here. host: we're looking at the prospect of several u.s. cities defaulting on their debt and possibly filing for chapter 9 bankruptcy. how significant is it when a city files for chapter 9? guest: well, chapter 9 is actually a very rarely used part of the bankruptcy code for a whole host of reasons. there are some significant impedments to filing for chapter 9. including the fact that the state actually has to have a law that authorizes cities to
file for bankruptcy. but before getting into the details of chapter 9 bankruptcy, which i suspect some of the callers will have questions about, it's important to remember that bankruptcy is just one way of resolving fiscal distress. a city might have a whole host of options. and bankruptcy is one of them. bankruptcy is a process that a city goes through in order to deal with its crushing debt burden. host: so what is chapter 9? take us through that. guest: sure. chapter 9 is a chapter of the bankruptcy code that is available only to municipalities which include cities, counties, water districts, and other public entities although it does not include a state. so it's a political instrument talt of a state. it allows a municipality. and let's focus on cities
because that's what's in the news these days. it allows a city to readjust its debt through what chapter 9 calls a plan of adjustment, which is anal gus in some ways to a chapter 11 plan of reorganization. so a city files for bankruptcy, proposes a plan of adjustment, and then if the court confirms the plan, that plan is substituted for the debt obligations before bankruptcy. now, like in chapter 11 the creditors get to vote on the plan. however, unlike chapter 12u, as i said before there are some real impedments to the city filing. there are a couple reasons. one is the tenth amendment of the constitution, which restricts the powers that the federal government can exercise
over states. and of course cities are instrument talts of states. but so as i said before, the states have to have a law that allows cities to file for bankruptcy. importantly, the city must be insolvent before filing for bankruptcy. and that's really important to keep in mind because individuals don't have to be insolvent before they file although most are. companies don't have to be insolvent before they file. but cities do. and that means that the city cannot meet its obligations as they come due. so for a municipal debtor, bankruptcy is really a last resort. the city really has to be broke. third, the city has to have negotiated with its creditors before filing for bankruptcy. and actually has had to, has to try and come up with a plan for dealing with its debt before even filing.
and that's excused if it's unfeasible for a city to do so. but when a city perhaps files before coming to an agreement with its creditors, then there will be some significant litigation at the very beginning of the bankruptcy case about whether the city was even eligible to file. now, just back to some similarities and differences between chapter 9 and chapter 11, like chapter 11 bankruptcy, what filing chapter 9 does is immediately stay all attempts to collect debts from the entity. so if a city files for bankruptcy, collection efforts will stop. and that's a good thing because it gives the city time to work out, work on its plan of adjustment. now, unlike chapter 11, though, chapter 11 is always sort of in
-pthe shadow of a liquid dation. so, for instance, in chapter 11 when we look at a plan and determine whether a plan is in the best interest of creditors, we look to see what creditors would get if the company liquidated and sold all its assets. well, a city can't liquidate and there's no chance of a city liquid dating in bankruptcy. in fact, a city has to file under chapter 9, a city cannot file under chapter 7 and licked yate. so that is there never. host: why would liquidation be, why is that significant? guest: well, it's significant. sure, it's significant because a lot of times when you're sort of negotiating around a bankruptcy and saying, ok, well, you know, if you don't file, then what's going to happen? oh, maybe you'll sell all your
assets or file for chapter 7 and rall your assets will be liquid dated. so it's a threat out there that doesn't exist with cities. and another reason it's significant when we're talking about chapter 9, though, so a city can't liquid date. and a court does not take control over the city's assets. now, in a chapter 7, for instance, in a liquidation, the trustee in bankruptcy takes control over the assets and sells them in a chapter 11 a bankruptcy estate is created and the court has to approve the company's use of its assets and has to allow the company to borrow money. that's not the case with the city. actually, a city can do what it wants withs its assets because the federal government is not permitted through the bankruptcy courts to really take control of a city's assets.
host: our guest, julie more jello-o, professor. and we're talking about city's facing debt crises. the numbers to call, are on the bottom of your screen. and independent callers, there was a recent piece, cnn money.com three american cities on the brink of broke. several downtroden cities are on the verge of defaulting on their debt. talk to us about how cities get in this fix.
guest: let's focus on a city that's currently in bankruptcy, valet ho, california. one of the states reasons for their troubles was very generous employee benefits packages. and in fact, just yesterday in the "wall street journal," there was an editorial about the problem that many california cities are in. and it is mainly because of generous, for instance generous pension packages. so that is one reason for cities that currently are in trouble. another reason that might be more common in now and in the future is of course we're in a bad economy, in a bad economy property values are declining, there are many foreclosures, people aren't spending as much money. so property taxes are declining and -- property tax revenues are declining and sales tax revenues are declining. and those are of course the
main sources of revenue for a city. also, many cities have aging infrastructures that need to be updated for a whole host of reasons and cities just don't have that money. and last, sometimes cities just make bad deals. and i'm here in pennsylvania in a city that its bankruptcy is looming every day, our local papeser doing a nice job of covering it and every day there is some other issue dealing with harrisburg's problems was a bad deal. it was a retro fit of an insin rator and the debt service on that deal for this year exceeds the city budget. so there are a whole bunch of reasons for cities getting in trouble. host: let's go to our first caller. scott on the independents line. caller: long time listener, first-time caller.
i i'm listening and appreciate what she's saying. but i want to ask and i think that america needs to begin to ask and why and who are the cities and everyone in debt to? that's the first question. why are our government continues to allow a private bank to coin money? i think that's the issue here, why all these countries all at the same time are failing due to a debt to whom and why. and when we answer that question, i think that all of our question problems will be solved. guest: well, you raise a lot of important policy issues there. but just on cities, cities do a lot of their financing, most of their financing through bonds issueance. so cities are indebt to everybody. everybody who buys bonds. as far as the world tanking,
well, that just shows how interconnected the economy is these days. and it raises sort of much bigger questions than can probably be answered in the next half hour here. host: we have a question on twitter. guest: gosh, that, i have to say before my time of paying attention to these things. you know, new york i don't think actually filed though. and just in terms of more recent bankruptcies, about what is it 16 years ago with orange county, california's bankruptcy which i believe was the largest and that, the reasons for that included some bad investments, some would say very bad investments by the city
government. host: carson, california. let's go to steve, republican's line. caller: professor, i'm always been more of a proactive person rather than reactive. and for the past ten years i've been trying to get every level of government to post their finances to the web. it doesn't seem like anyone's really subscribed. and i can't solve the problems like the city of l.a. is having at this point. but isn't it real easy, all accounting is in elect format. cabinet you post the financings? maybe the state for the california state lottery? doesn't that seem like a solution so we can avoid these fiscal crises because we can catch them right away? guest: well, it's certainly an interesting solution. and it raises one of the interesting things of course about a chapter 9 bankruptcy. because in a sense the stigma
is different from, say, a company filing for bankruptcy or an individual filing for bankruptcy. again, up here in harrisburg people talk about it every day. how did the city get into the mess? who was running the city? why did they do this? and people have a real interest in what's going to happen. now, tosk bankruptcy code formally does not give the residents of the city, i mean, the bankruptcy code doesn't give the residents of the city the right to vote on the plan. but the residents of the city of course ultimately have the right to vote on who is running the city. so, yeah, i mean, you raise the political accountability aspect of a city in or the fiscal failure of a city and the more information out there, the more people perhaps would try to have a say and maybe it's less likely that a city would get
into trouble. but who knows. host: they look at three cities in trouble, jefferson county, alabama, harrisburg, pennsylvania as you've been talking about, and also detroit. looking at the situation in harrisburg, pennsylvania's capital $68 billion in bond payments this year, thrrs 3 million more than its entire budget. the governing body that issued the bonds to construct a state-of-the-art trash insin rator has been unable to make several payments and now the county government which foot it had bill last year for a $775,000 swap fee is suing for the funds. guest: mm-hmm. host: tell us more about this situation. how did they get in this trouble and how do they get out? guest: how they got into it has to do with an idea from years ago to use the insin rator to burn trash, to sell the steam from it for energy. and i believe the first company that agreed to do the retro fit
failed in it and went under. then they had to hire somebody else to do it. so that's the example of the really bad deal. right? and apparently it's an incredibly complex financing and as you point out very expensive and the debt service exceeds the city budget. now, how do they get out of it? that's an interesting question. because as i noted before, bankruptcy -- and when we're talking about bankruptcy generally for individuals, for corporations and cities, bankruptcy is one way of dealing with your financial problems. so, yes, one way that harrisburg could get out of this is by filing for chapter 9 and renegotiating that bond debt because chapter 9 would allow the city to do that. now, another way is to sell some city assets. now, as i mentioned before, a city cannot be forced in bankruptcy to sell its assets.
in fact, most cities can't be forced outside of bankruptcy to sell their assets. it's hard to collect from a city. and many city assets probably wouldn't have market value to a lot of people. but take harrisburg as an example because that's what i know and where i am. one of the ideas that is being floated is for harrisburg to sell its parking garages. those could be sold to a private entity. now, one objection that you often hear, though, to cities dealing with their debt problems by selling assets is this. cities get revenues from those assets. so once a city sells the assets, what happens to the revenue? and of course for each city and each assets, that's a caste by caste determination. but those are two choices. right? or actually they're three. renegotiate with everybody outside of bankruptcy.
the problem is often people don't -- you can't get everybody to the table outside of bankruptcy. then you can renegotiate in bankruptcy. and a bankruptcy filing is one way to get everybody to the table. so if you have recalstant creditors, creditors who don't want to make the deal outside of bankruptcy. and in chapter 9 you've got to try to make that deal. if you have people who don't want, creditors who don't want to make that deal you file for chapter 9 to get them to the table to negotiate. option 3, look at what assets you have that you can sell. option four, raise taxes. but these cities in trouble have probably raised taxes as high as they can go. so that's just probably not going to happen. cut services. that's a real problem, too. so there are many options out there of which chapter nine is just one. host: silva from the democrat's line in memphis, tennessee.
caller: professor, you're showing me a city is a corporation, a state is a corporation. and i think in the united states is a corporation. we know that corporations are in business to make money. so and they don't have citizens. so i think about the people who are in cities and they are on totally on public aid. and they are going to become a problem for the cities the state and the government. and i'm wondering what's going to be done with them. and again, as a corporation, the police work for the city. so they're protecting and serving but they're protecting and serving the corporation. the national guard for the states and the united states military protecting the corporation of the united states. and i wonder about the flag of the united states. when that fringe was put around that flag, how did that put the corporation? now i see the flag has a gold
fringe and a tassle and i remember when it was red white and blue, not red white and blue and gold. so i'm wondering about the changes and the effect that those changes are going to have on people who are unable to take care of themselves as things get tighter for the city. guest: well, host: i cut the caller off prematurely. but please go ahead. guest: the point that you raise, and i'll focus not so much on cities and states as corporations, but that on people who depend and let's stick with cities because we're focusing here on cities and trouble and what the options are for cities. you know, you raise one very important issue. people individuals rely on cities for services. and a city really needs to be able to continue to provide those services, which makes it so important for a city in
distress to find some way to get out from under a crushing debt burden. host: birmingham, alabama. gilbert, independent caller. caller: yes, ma'am. i am quite pleased this morning for you having this guest. living here in jefferson county, and birmingham, alabama, the current -- we are on the verge of having the largest bankruptcy in the entire america. now, i would like for c-span to take a closer focus on what's happening because now we're up for election for county officials and there are certain county officials who want to close down the local public hospital, the old folk's home. and what has happened in birmingham, there is a corruption case with the former commissioner, larry lengthen, who the people voted to even be the mayor of the city of
birmingham. now the city of birmingham is facing a $77 million deficit. and what i'm saying a lot of times the voters put the wrong -- she mentioned about the type of people that we vote into office. and i would like for c-span to do a major focus on what's happening here in birmingham because we, the people, are really suffering at the hands of corrupt elected officials. have a good morning. host: professor, before we go to your response, i want to point out from this piece it does talk about jefferson county. the most populous county in alabama is shouldering about $5 billion of debt. most of which was issued to overhaul its suer system in the mid 1990s. but the county's real trouble stem from a 2003 refinancing of the original fixed rate bonds and a corrupt local government that accepted kickbacks in exchange for mangling's the county's ports foleyo. guest: that's a problem. because you may have a city that's taken on a lot of debt,
a city that's financed some very large projects and perhaps what pushes the city over the edge is that that element of corruption, taking it from a bad deal to a really bad deal. and jefferson county is an example of a municipality that's been working outside of chapter 9 for quite some time now to deal with its debt problems. you know, the caller's point i think is very well taken in that, yes, you vote out the city officials who got you into this problem and then who is throast solve the problem? the new city officials. so voting out the people who did it may prevent -- well, will prevent those same people from doing something to harm the city in the future but you're still living somebody with a crushing debt load that needs to be dealt with.
host: republican caller from california. good morning. caller: good morning. i have a question for jewel yeth. i live in part of orange county which filed one of the biggest bankruptcies in the history of country. and in west minister, our city declared our city blighted back in owe and have been collecting incremental tax based on california redevelopment law. they've managed to collect a great deal, millions and millions of dollars to do this. and the dollars have, were intended to be spent on infrastructure. a lot of the money has gone towards rebuilding their streets. but also a large amount of the money has gone to build a rose center which is an entertainment theater building.
and other monies have gone to build a state-of-the-art, almost $70 million police station for a city of 90,000 people. and then money was spent, 4 or 5 million to build a two-story large building for the chamber of commerce. now, all these moneys that come back to the city are moneys that do not go to the state of california or to the county to help operational costs there. so my question is, what is your take on redevelopment? and its affect on city that is can declare themselves blighted? i would have liked to have seen this money used more in the redevelopment of our city and in the way of infrastructure rather than -- you can call these buildings infrastructure, i suppose. but i'm talking about like perhaps our waterline, our streets, things like that.
guest: well, i mean, i guess that really depends on the individual city and the needs of the individual city. and i think what your comments illustrate is the problem of or the question of who is making these decisions and are the decisions really in the best interest of the city? and what is the best interest of the city? so i think as far as a general point, what's my take on it? i'm not sure i have one not knowing the situation of your particular city but i think it varies from place to place. host: there's a piece in the national review from june 21 of this year called the other national debt. and it's reports that beyond the official federal debt there's another $2.5 trillion in state and local debt.
why so much? a lot of that debt comes from spending that is extraordinarily stupid and wasteful even by government standards because state and local authorities can issue tax-free securities, municipal bonds. and a whole platoon of local special interest hustlers looking to get a piece. you can build yourself a new major league sports stadium with tax-free bonds but touf use old-fashioned financing if you want to build a factory. so you can use tax-free bonds to create jobs so long as those jobs are selling hot dogs to sports fans. . .
actually factor in? let's take any kind of desireable debt, something a city needs and people would think is i good thing for the city. would bankruptcy make it harder or easier for the city to borrow? and that's actually unclear. so few cities file for bankruptcy, that what happens to the city after, you can't generalize on it. it did take orange county a few years to raise money after it got out of bankruptcy, and orange county did not impair the rights of the -- of most of its bond holders. most of its bond holders were paid in full. even though bankruptcy will allow a city to wipe out a lot of its burdensome debt and perhaps become solvent, it might be hard for a city for a while to raise money after. but then again, the insolvent city will have a hard time
city will have a hard time raising money anyway. /host: phoenix, arizona, our democrat's line. [newline]caller: i caller: i believe our biggest problem are the employees. we pay their taxes and total salaries which is twice that of the taxpayer, as far as averaging goes. therefore, their benefits should be paid 1 hundred% by -- 100% by them, and it is not. because they get to vote for their own retirements and raises , et cetera, and naturally those are going to be three times as much as we would get in a -- in a company we went to work for. in addition, they give tax-free
exemptions to big companies. i worked for t.w.a., and then i went to work for american express. both companies did not have to pay real estate tax by the state. they were given that just to get them in the state to do business. guest: well, you do raise two important points. at the beginning of this segment, we talked about what has gotten cities into trouble, and one is the large benefits packages. packages. on the one hand, you want the city to be able to hire the best people for its police department and for its fire department. and to get the best people, yes you offer benefits packages, but those benefits packages have now really become crushing burdenens
for a city. now, when a city files for bankruptcy, the, you know, employees, the unions, are creditors just like everybody else, k like the bond holders. and a city does have the ability to renegotiate its union contracts in bankruptcy. and so often that is one of the reasons that a city is going to look at chapter nine in order to get out of those big employee benefit burdenens. of course that -- you know, that is a very sensitive subject, because you have retirees who are getting good pensions. you have people who are working who were hired expecting those good pensions, and a city is going to try to negotiate to renegotiate those packages. precisely so that a city employee has to pay more toward
this ension. and that's a big driver for chapter 9 bankruptcy. the other point that you made about cities and counties offering tax-free deals to encourage corporations to move into a city or a county, yeah, that's a problem, too. because the other driver that i mentioned at the beginning of this segment is declining tax revenues, and cities are faced with declining tax revenues because of the bad economy, but because of the bad economy, but yes, if a city makes a deal with an organization inform move into the city in exchange for a tax break, well those are taxes that the city is not collecting. on the other hand, the deals are often made because the idea is having the company move into the city or move into the county will bring in more people who spending money in the city or the county, but if that turns out to be a bad gamble, yeah, there is a decline in revenues,
and a decline in revenues plus an increase in the benefits packages will drive a sfi to insol conveniencey. host: new york state. al, independent caller. hi, al. caller: good morning. good morning, professor. here's how i see it. i am not an acedemian, but i do deal with the public. i see that, frequent, in new york state, in my county, 90 cents on the dollar, my tax dollars, goes toward medicaid, ok? now, if we look at things first locally and then natalie, which i hope -- and then nationally, which i hope you don't cut me off, but when you have 48% of the nation not paying taxes,
that creates a big problem because they are taking 90% of the tax money for their career as a welfare person. as a welfare person. i hate to sound so cruel, but we have hard choices to look at here. we have a $13 trillion debt. i haven't seen any money filtered back to main street to create jobs and national programs referring back to the last segment. we should be pushing a national program for energy. , renewables. but let's stick to the subject here. the subject is, how are these munepalts going to get out of this problem? well, part of the problem is, it is the politicians. we have to go right to the source and say, no more tax abatements to lure companies to come back here to build a big box and in a few years they are going to move down the road
anyway, because we have incentivized the tax system so that corporations keep money off shore to companies that don't charge high income tax. -- to countries that don't charge high income tax. guest: what you said about what cities can't or should not be doing in the future, what counties should not be doing in the future is important because, of course, once a city deals with its current problems, that may have been caused by some of the -- you know, the activities you mentioned. one would hope that politicians would learn a lesson and not get the city back into that sort of debt situation. >> ralph, republicans. >> ralph, republicans. hi, there. >> hi, you know, the pension obligations parallels to me what these kind of obligations did to the steel industry.
i remember as a child years ago, promises deficits were run by the unions. why would they agree to these? he made the point, he said the executives are dead and gone by the time they come due. it's the same situation here. people who spend the money are not held accountability. the bigger issue here, there are limits to government spending. margaret thatcher said the trouble with socialism is you eventually run out of the people's money to spend. >> yes. host: one viewer writes, "is there a site to see the bond ratings of various u.s. cities?" guest jonk: i don't know the answer to that.
is it a trickle down? is it a bleed up to th state level? could be both, right? because actually, for instance, let me rise something that's perk lating in california -- percolating in california at the moment. there was a bill introduced in the california legislature that would make it harder for cities in california to file for bankruptcy. it's a bill -- the proponents of the bill are the unions that don't want their union contracts modified in bankruptcy, which of course the city can do in chapter 9. now, the problem is, though, if a city can't file for bankruptcy, what happens? because the money is not there. as i've said several times in the past 45 minutes, a city needs to be insolvent to file for bankruptcy. so if a city doesn't file and
the city can't file, what happens? well, people don't get paid. and there are scanned ricks on how one can collect a debt from a city or from a county. you can't just go out and seize city hall and sell it, ok? so when you asked, does it trickle up or trickle down? you know, one problem in california is so people want to be paid. where are they going to go? the state? the state doesn't spr any money, so the state can't bailout cities if they can't file for chapter 9 and deal with their debt problems. so where do you go? the federal government? people are very tired at the moment of bailouts. would the taxpayers all over the country be willing to bailout a city in california? probably not. so that's the trickle up. the trickle down, of course, is the confidence among residents
in a city, people who work in a city. i mean, you hear it all the time here. uh-oh, harrisburg is in a lot of trouble. people are going to move out. of course we have the state government here, so of course the state government is not going to pick up and leave the city. there is a tremendous lack of confidence at the moment, and, you know, it is a lack of confidence because there is going to be a bankruptcy filing. well, yeah, people throw it out there. oh, gosh, if there is a bankruptcy filing, the sky is going to fall. but bankruptcy is not what makes the sky fall. it is the debt trouble that makes the sky fall, and a bankruptcy filing is one way to lift the sky back up again. i think you are right, there are trickle up problems, and there are trickle down problems. >> juliet moringiello has been our guest. thank you for being here. guest: thank you very much.
host: coming up next, michael dalton of the audobon society. first a look ahead on the sunday show. >> the topics will include the oil spill, what's going on in the middle east, and politics. on "this week" they will be talking with coast guard national incident commander thad allen. also republican snorl committee chairman a, and senate foreman committee relations chairman john kerry. the guests include admiral allen, hayley barber, and michael orin. on "face the nation" florida democratic senator bill nelson. on cnn's state of the union, candy crawley will be talking to thad allen, flor's governor, charlie crist, blan much lon --
blanche lincoln. we note "meet the press" is pre-empted today due to sports coverage. so you can listen at 1:00 p.m. that's 90.1 f.m. here in washington, d.c. nationwide on xm 32. and you can follow us on facebook and twitter. >> everyone has an agenda. as long as you know what their agenda is, that's a story you can write about. >> over the past year, wall street investigator -- investigative reporter brody mullins. he's our guest tonight. >> david cameron fields questions from parliament in his first prime minister's questions tonight at 9:00 on c-span.
>> today on book-tv's "in depth" martha nussbaum. she has britain or contributed to more than 20 books on liberal education, sexism, and legal justice. join join us with e-mails and tweets live today on c-span 2. >> monday, efforts to expand broad band in oregon. >> today on "the communicateors," ray baum from the oregon public utility commission. "the communicators" monday on c-span 2.
>> host: we wanted to talk to you about the migratory bird treaty act. first, talk about what the awed bon -- audobon society is seeing in the gulf of mexico? guest: in recent days the number of birds being recovered is increasing dramatically. they have recovered more in the last sick days than they have in the last six weeks. so we're really starting to see what looks like an oil spill. the heart break of birds that need to be rescued from the oil spill. i think in the long term, our concern is for the health of this ecosystem and the devastation that can be wreaked not just for the birds being pulled out with oil on them now, but the long-term health of the whole area.
host: we have an image looking at one of the birds. guest: right, a brown pelican there. host and there is a cleaning effort? guest the audubon society is helping in terms of the wildlife response in helping bring the birds out of the water and into the rescue centers. they are trying the best they can. rescuers are trying the best they can, you know, to scrub these birds and get them back to health when they are recovered early enough. unfortunately, a lot of the birds will never make it to rescue centers. these birds are often very difficult to recover from the wild. often an area as small as a quarter size of oil on a bird is enough to be a death sentence. so, you know, the reason that the oil wells destroy the insulating capacity of feathers,
and once that spot allows for infiltration of the water, it is sort of like these birds are trying to use a wet blanket to stay warm. that's the way to think of it. host: "the washington post" has a photograph of a bird on its cover. an pelican stuck in oil just off the gulf of mexico in louisiana. you mentioned we are finally seeing these images, which was feared when the oil spill started. what are we not seeing, though? guest: i think the difficulty is many of these birds either cannot be captured, so you have little shore birds that you need special nets to bring them in. a lot of these birds are not going to be found at all because they are either sort of secretive marsh birds that are dying in open water or in habitats where there really is no chance to detect them. and then the other thing that people are not seeing very much of is that there are birds with
oil on their feathers now that they are not being brought in to rehabilitation centers. are you in the middle of northwesting season, and wildlife policy jifts have to make a difficult judgment call about whether or not they will bring birds into rehab centers and whether they will leave them in place to nest and potentially have a successful breeding season. so that's the other part of this. this is terrible timing for birds, many bird species in terms of being in the middle of breeding season, and some of these birds are being left on the nest despite having oil on their feathers because they want a successful breeding season. >> the exxon valdez oil spill, a lot of that were pictures of oil-coated birds. how much did that change the american response to what happened there? guest: i think the photos of water life from the valdese is
the most visceral part of the way it is remembered. birds are indicators of the health of an ecosystem. they are also indicators of an environmental disaster. these birds are grim reminders of the severity of the environmental disaster that's in the gulf of mexico right now. the emotional reaction is the way to channel what is the reality out there, which is that we have a large scale, very frightening sort of science speerment going on in the gulf of mexico that's causing a lot of living creatures to struggle and some of them to die. the birds are one of the most visible reminders. i think for valdez, that was a big part of galvanzing that national reaction. and i think it is appropriate for these photos coming out in
the last few days to motivate the american public to respond in a more dramatic way to this spill. >> after six weeks with one to four days of people coming to louisiana, 53 arrived thursday, another 13 friday morning with more on the way. federal authorities say 798 dead birds, sea turtles, dolphins and other wildlife have been collected from the gulf of mexico and its coastline. >> i think some in the media have downplayed that where the numbers of birds killed were in the hundreds ever thousands that this seems minor. the reality is, this is the way that if works. the fish and wildlife service collects the birds that are actually caught and then they need to make an estimate on the overall impact based on the kind of impact we talked about. most of the birds that are oiled will never be recovered, most of the birds that die will never be
recovered. we have an immediate body count that is part of the overall picture of how many birds are being affected. host: the latest news in the gulf, the government's point man says there is some progress. thad allen says he doesn't think anyone should be pleased as long as there is oil in the water. he said this on cnn's "state of the union" that oil needs to be recovered by b.p. or quickly cap the well. he calls it an insidious enemy that is attacking our shores and holding the gulf hostage. how involved should the federal government be versus b.p.'s responsibility? guest: the number one thing that needs to happen, is they need to stop this spill. b.p. seems to be the only authority that really can go a mile bee nealingt the ocean and look for ways to realistcally try to stop the spill. we think the government should be doing what they are doing, which is coordinating the effort
to try to rescue the wildlife, to assess the damage on natural resources, and to look for whether there is criminal wrongdoing and whether there are ways to ensure that b.p. is held accountable. host: let's go to milwaukee. caller: i have more of a suggestion, and i know it might seem off the wall, but i really think that the top 100 b.p. executives and possibly their families that are old enough to work should come down in shifts of maybe 10 a week and rotate until this is cleaned up and help with the clean-up of the birds and help with the clean-up and the mucking off of the shorelines. i think this would be an example that -- b.p.'s executives
wouldn't soon forget of what their shortcuts and their -- well, typically what their shortcuts to make an extra buck result in. guest: i see where the caller is coming from. the reality is i think there is a strong feeling that b.p. needs to be held accountable in weather way we can ensure that this kind of disaster doesn't happen again, and if part of that is internalizing for b.p. what these costs are, you know, part of that, i think is going to be based on the legal case and the legal kwagmire that's sure to ensue in all of this. i think there need to be strong messages sent to b.p. about their accountability here to ensure that they pay their fair share as it relates to the costs that they are imposing right now
on the gulf coast. host: this is from a june 2 "new york times" editoral. eric holder said he would provide penalties to wildlife and bird species. exxon agreed to pay $100 million -- rather $1 billion in federal and state civil damages and $500 million in punitive damages. the migratoy bird act, how does that come into play and how can it be used? guest: exxon pled guilty under the migetri bird act and the -- migratory bird act and the clean water act. there are older laws that result in strict liability, which is basically the federal government doesn't have to prove that there was intent here, that there was
any negligence on the part of the company. it's really, if you look at the migratory bird treaty act, it is really straight forward about killing of a migratory bird is a violation of federal and state law. that's why it is so straight forward. the fish and wildlife service now is treating this like a crime scene. they are pulling in these oil birds. they are documenting them all. they are doing the studies to ensure these were birds killed by the oil spill, and, you know, if they can prove that these are protected migratoy -- migratry birds killed by the oil spill, that's a violation of the law, so it is likely to be part of the criminal prosecution that comes forward. host: neil joins us. go ahead.
caller: i wanted to comment on talking to the lady who was a law professor, but you're the person who reviewed my calls said i had to speak to this topic. it is all generally related. you have to blame the likes of hillary clinton and her whole crowd who claim to be advocates of education but all they have done is deeducate the people and dumb down the whole nation. now we have this problem where how come people can drill in shallower waters? well, the reason is because people -- there are so many people nowadays who think -- you know, the whole environmental thing is pushed to such an
extreme, it is ridiculous, you know? it's like the caller who was speaking previous to your previous guest who said, you know, the problem stems from a welfare attitude and that's just basically correct you have all these people who are really slaves to government, you know. host: neil mentioned shallower drilling off shore. also the fish & wildlife, that's something you said should not be drilled in the coastal plain. would that be preferable? guest: absolutely not. the reality is this spill is something that should give pause to anyone who is considering drilling in environmently risky areas. you know, part of that is deep water. i think that we've learned now that drilling in deep water
areas is something where we really didn't fully understand the environmental risk. clearly b.p. does not have a good ability to clean up this kind of spill. they have no adequate response plan in place or certainly the response is -- you know, the proof is in their actions in terms of how long it has taken and how many failures they have had at trying to stop the leak. and i think, you know, deep water off-shore drilling it is entirpetirle appropriate what the administration has done, to take pause, to step back, and try to give this ecosystem a chance to recover. and the idea that because deep water drilling is obviously dangerous that somehow that means shallow drilling or on-shore drilling is safe is just not true. i think that, you know, when it comes to shallow off-shore
drilling, you need to remember you are closer to shore. you have less ability to respond before the coastline would be oiled. so, one of the advantages -- there are not very many bright spots to the deep water horizon spill, was that it was 40 miles off shore which gave them a chance to keep the oil in open water. when it comes to the arctic national wildlife refuge, you couldn't think of a worst place to drill in terms of risk to wildlife to go into the biological heart of a national wildlife rest refuge and bring an oil spill to a place like that, it just doesn't make any sense. host: which bird species will be affected the greatest by the oil spill? guest: let's start with the louisiana state bird, the brown pelican, a bird which was just removed from the endangered list last year.
it happens to be nesting now. they found oiled eggs this week. you have seen dramatic photos of those birds being covered in oil. part of the reason is that these are birds that hunt for food in open water and dive under the water to get their food, and there are a number of other species that do that as well, in terms of gulls, that would dive under the water, you know. if you are trying to avoid being impacted by an oil spill, a life history and a connection to feeding undered surface of the water that's oiled, it's obviously putting a lot of these kinds ever species in danger. the species that northwest on barrier islands and beaches, you know, which are obviously have a chance to be impacted by the spill in many beaches. there is 70 miles of coast that have oil on them already. those species are particularly at risk. with hurricane season coming,
the possibility of pushing this oil spill over the barrier islands onto the beaches, you know, really brings in a risk of disrupting the nesting season and having a true impact on these populations. host: robin, connecticut. go ahead. caller: the caller is proposing oil drilling at the 50-mile limit. now, what i don't understand is, we have a three-mile limit, and then 50 miles out. what is our responsibility in case there's an oil spill out there? then -- if we are involved in any expenditures, are we charging back the oil companies? because what bothers me a great deal on the valdez was, it was
so many -- well, say billions of dollars. they went to court. it was knocked down a lot. whatever this comes up to, if they go to court, i'm afraid that's going to get knocked down, because everything seems to be oil, and we drill about $5 million barrels of oil a day. guest: the caller mecks makes an excellent point about the valdez spill and sort of punitive damages against exxon were in the order of $5 billion and after years and years of litigation it was knocked down closer to $500 million mark with an average award going to those that had damages along the lines of $15,000. i don't think that's the kind of money that's going to make people whole on the louisiana coast right now, when you are talking about the fabric of people's lives being disrupted.
a coastal economy that's at risk. tourism based businesses that are having to close down, fishermen and shrimpers that won't have a fishing season. the variety of impact here is really more eenormous than valdez where you hit one state that was in really a remote area. the wildlife impacts were stark and terrible, but i think in terms of the impact on real people, impact on businesses, people's coastal property values, there's such a wide variety of impact, so having it be on the front doorstep of america, i think that, you know, i hope as the case moves forward, that the penalties that are brought forward are commensurate with basically this being the largest environmental disaster in u.s. history.
host: our guest is michael daulton, the audubon society. is congress considering changes? guest: congress is considering one significant change to the law, which is not related to the oil spill at all. they are thinking of increasing penalties in the migratory bird act, because out in oregon some lobbyists were deliberately and intentionally killing protected raptors. when they went to court, the judge really slapped them on the wrist with a misdemeanor. the penalty -- grusomely killing a protected raptor was the same as misusing the symbol of smoky the bear. the misdemeanor misdemeanor charge was not appropriate for the grusome violations that were occurring. so congress does have a change to the law that's being considered now, which the audubon society is starting to support, which would increase penalties for the kinds of intentional violations of the
act that we've keen seen out in oregon. >> are there changes the audubon society would like to see put in place due to what's happened in the gulf? guest: we are not advocating anything at ttis point. from a legislative point of view, we think the best thing congress can do is get the nation off oil as quickly as possible. we have a depend yenence on oil threatening our national security. the question i have, is how many reasons do we need to start to get serious about energy policy in this country? we have -- you know, we are funding dangerous regimes overseas, we're polluting our air. we now have shown that we can foul our own nest by drilling for oil. we are having unprecedented environmental disaster. the question in my mind, why wouldn't we get serious about moving toward a more energy
efficient economy that could help us get off oil as well. host: j.j. caller: i have an opinion about the oil spill and katrina. the media didn't say that katrina -- the oil spill is worse that katrina. we had thousands of people that lost their lives in katrina, and yet they still say this this -- that this oil spill is worse than katrina. people lost their homes and businesses and animals during katrina. i would like to know what is your opinion of evaluating between the two. guest: thank you, and i appreciate the caller reminding everyone about the human toll. we can't forget that the -- that this is an environmental disaster, but it is also something that took the lives of 11 people, that those are leaven
families that are going to be forever affected. it is a human tragedy in addition to an environmental disaster. i do do think there is a significant human element to the environmental impact. the fact is that the people of the louisiana coast did depend on a healthy gulf of mexico, and a healthy ecosystem. and this is teering at the fabric of people's lives. i don't think we should be -- i think it is a little bit apples and oranges in terms of different kinds of -- putting a major american city under water is more significant in terms of the complete disruption of people's lives. but this is, if you are going to compare it to other environmental disasters, we have an oil spill that's much larger than the exon valdez, and i don't think it is unfair to call it the largest environmental disaster in u.s. history.
host: the independent line from california. caller: i have a question. for one, if a hurricane does come in and -- in say a month from now and all that oil will carry into -- if it was a bad hurricane, it would carry into louisiana, and what would be the damage of the hurricane? guest: that's an excellent question from the caller. it is one of our biggest concerns going forward. we're end erg hurricane season. hurricane season brings with it nightmarish scenarios about potential impact. we're talking about the possibility of storm surge that could bring oil into habitats that could otherwise not be affected. we're seeing oil washing over
northwesting habitats for these birts.ting habitats for these it won't just be about them going out and forging for food and bringing oil back to the nest. it would be about oil going over and swamping out a habitat. we could see far greater damage to the coastal wet landslands and other points in that area. when we start to talk about major storm surges that does bring back visions of katrina and possible human toll. if you're asking what do we think are some of the worst things that can happen, a hurricane that starts spreading this oil much deeper into gulf coast habitats and coastal communities is right up there. host: we have a picture coming to us courtesy of "audubon" magazine, looking at a bird that's been oiled in a box. what have scientists and policy
jifts learned since the valdez oil spill about how to clean birds? guest: we have wildlife rehabilitateors that know what they are doing. there are people involved with tri-state bird rescue. they are using dawn detergent which is not very -- it is very mild and seems to work for getting the oil off their feathers. the unfortunate part is, a lot of these birds will not survive even if they do make it to rehabilitation centers. so even with what has been learned for wildlife rehabilitation, it's srnl not a pan seia, and many -- it is certainly not a panacea and many wildlife animals will not survive even having made it to rehabilitation centers.
host: caller. caller: you mentioned when we do shortcuts we have problems like this. what the financial wall street disaster has in common with b.p. is much more stemic than simply shortcuts. this generic term "short cuts" is misleading the american people. your organization needs to take a look at sick sigma. halburton, b.p., they were all involved in sick cigma. these are black belts, green belts, and their job is to cut corners. they see how far they can go
with shortcuts. i would strongly advise your organization to look at six sigma. guest: i think the attorney general is doing the right thing. we are a country of laws. our environmental laws are clear, and we need to get to the bottom, we need to get to the facts about what occurred. whether there have been violationed -- violations of law. caller: b.p. never meant for this to happen, and you know they are just as sorry about this as everybody else on the plantation or in this world. and the people that want to fuss about people making money, well, if people didn't make money, what would this united states be
like? all welfare people? guest: you know, to respond to the caller, i don't think that anyone is asserting that they intended to spill oil into the -pgulf, but -- and, you know, i sure many people in the sort of b.p. family are devastated by what's going on. but, i mean, we have to remember that this is a tragedy. we have 11 family that have been forever affected. we've got a major environmental disaster. and, you know, the polluters should be held accountable. if b.p. made money, they also took risks. they are also operating under laws that they may have violated. i think that b.p. needs to pay their fair share. this isn't something that the taxpayer should have to pick up because, you know, b.p. feels sorry about it. you know, they need to pay their
fair share. host: becky calling on the democrat's line. caller: i'm a democrat. i don't know how long i will remain one. i love the environment. i care passionately about it. however, this disaster came about because we can't drill too close to shore, we can't drill on land. we have to drill far out to sea. and using technology that's fairly recent to facilitate drilling so far off the coast, which is also supposed to be green, has been shown to be a disaster. i read the foreign press. this technology has been faulty, has been shown to be faulty. b.p. has the worst environmental record of any corporation in the world, has fouled more water than any other. my question is, why is b.p. allowed to maintain a business license?
i'm sorry, but these decisions need to be moderated to drill closer to the shore. let's not forget, it was our president who accepted british petroleum from having to comply with an environmental impact study, and the result, they didn't get hiring crews to sit at the ready in case something was happen. that b.p. was involved in the exxon valdez oil spill, and yet they are always covered from having to be involved in that. guest: i think it is not a fair characterization to say that on-shore drill will is an access for oil companies. the same goes for shallow water off-shore. you know, the bush administration trippled oil and gas drilling permits during their administration on-shore. you've seen rapied -- rapid oil and gas development and leasing
in states like wyoming and alaska. this administration has, up until recently, been supportive of additional off-shore drilling. i think the reality is, there is going to be additional drilling. the question is, it's appropriate to pause right now to take a step back, to reassess what the real risks are, where the places are that make the most sense to move forward, and where we really should avoid the potential for additional environmental catastrophes. host: a recent survey talks about the entop oil spill 30 years ago. tim johnson writes "it serves a distant memory to today's disaster." he reports that surprisingly mexican scientists say the sound itself recovered rather quickly and a sizeable shrimp industry
recovered in a few years. do you see potential for recovery here in a way that maybe we're not predicting or talking about? guest: i hope we will invest in recovery and getting this ecosystem back on its feet as quickly as possible. we should be keeping our eye on the ball in terms of the health of the ecosystem in the gulf. i'm not sure that most scientists would agree that there aren't long-term chronic effects from oim spills. i think that the scientists that have been working on exxon valdez say there is still oil there. you couldn't really call the spill over even as distant in the past as that spill was. so, you know, i think this spill will be with us for a long time.
i think it is affecting this ecosystem in ways that we're just beginning to contemplate, let alone fully understand. we need to make the investments in recovery, but we shouldn't jump to the a-- assumption that this will be over quickly. we have a major disaster on our hands. host: 10 miles off the coast of louisiana where the air tastes like gasoline and the air looks like brownie batter, he leans out of a fishing boat and dunks a small jar. god, what a mess, he says, under his breath scooping up some oil spilled in the gulf of mexico. and it says even though he's been studying oil spills for years he's not sure what he'll find because just under the surface one of the biggest disasters of the -- in the
history of the united states remains a mystery. he said the effects could last a century. >> absolutely. and the unseen impacts are really part of the most frightening aspects of this. host: it is deep water, it is off the coast. guest: under water where the hundreds of thousands of dollars of the toxic disbursement have been used where much of the oil is floating in plumes underneath the surface of the water, i think there is a lot of potential to be killing marine life at all levels of the food chain. i think that the fish policy jifts and the policy jifts that are studying that ecosystem are very, very gravely concerned about whether or not we could be disrupting the food chain, a whole web of life in that ecosystem.
i don't think there is any question that there is significant impact occurring and this could be for a long time. >> one writer put it that this could be a chernobyle-size disaster under the sea. caller: i would like to make two quick comments, especially tied in with the previous subject and the wildlife situation here. what was appalling, there were questions about bush being late. what was pretty sickening to me was the thousands of bottled water that was sent to the victims attica trina. when they were through using it, there was no depository and these plastic bottles were
thrown into the bay floating out to sea, and that was pretty disgusting that there was nobody picking up these plastic bottles so now maybe for the rest of our lives these bottles are floating in the ocean. the other comment i want to make it is -- is this, i believe that the oil that is down in the cavern leaking, it acts as a gasket. with this oil being depleted, you are going to end up with a big cavern, maybe the size of rhode island, we don't know, and i'm wondering if some day that roof will fall in causing more sue nammies -- tsunamis, more earthquakes. guest: the plastic bottles, i think it raises an important ge about whether the -- important questions about whether the solution is going to be worse than the cure. there are a lot of --
particularly from the audubon society's perspective and think ing of the impact on wildlife and birds and habitats, bringing in bulldozers, heavy vehicles, untrained volunteers, there is a lot of potential for disturbance of basically the nesting season for the birds down there right now. host: what is your concern about the chemical disbursement? guest: we have a toxic science speerment going -- expeerment -- expirament going on in the gulf of mexico. so it is a concern about impacts on individual wildlife species, but also it is really about the health of the ecosystem with this experiment we're doing with that amount of a toxic chemical
being released in the ecosystem. caller: i call because i am concerned about the disbursement . the core exit 9500 which is being pumped directlyyinto the well as the disbursement. i can't understand why. the e.p.a. told them to stop, they just said, no way, and as we speak, it is still flowing directly into the well. but i think you have answered that question fairly well. the second point is that obama has opened a commission to investigate this, and the two people he put in charge were senator graham and a man called riley who has, i think there is a total conflict of interest here investigating this because he's on the board of directors of coneco, exxon and dupont. why can't we get people in there
that are going to investigate this? i believe british petroleum should be put up for corporate malfeasance because that's exactly what it is. malfeasance because that's exactly what it is. guest: i guess i would giss agree a bit about the -- disgisree a bit about the qualiy of people that have been appointed. they are still appointing people. but from everything we have heard, the scientists that they have appointed have stellar records that are really unassailable. william riley has an outstanding record as an e.p.a. administrator and has direct experience with valdez. senator, graham, i'm very encouraged by everything he said since his appointment. so i'm -- i for one am encouraged by what i've been hearing from the cearimission ts far and by what the president
has said about, you know, the commission being able to investigate whatever they need to, to make sure that this boesn't hntepen gisain. >> buffalo, new york, greg, welcome. caller: you look like you're about ready to cry. let me give you a little advice. we all love the birds, and you got to take it easy. you folks are getting excited. i love your smile. that's what i want to see. listen to me, searie birds are going to die. i'm worried about those folks with the shrimp so they can have their gumbo. the ocean is going to handle a lot of this. we'll get it cleaned up. it's not going to be a 100-year thing. take it easy. we all love the birds, but it's not the end of the world. guest: that was an entertaining call. i feel like i have a pretty good
sense of humor. it's difficult for me to find my humor when we have an unprecedented environmental disaster occurring in the gulf. and despite what the caller and despite what the caller id -- despite what the caller said, i don't think it should be underestiiated the disaster going on in the gulf. host caller, go ahead. caller: what is the audubon society's opinion on the oil plumes and how does that relate to prince william sound 20 years to prince william sound 20 years later?